Business news in brief
Stocks at month high; investors watch Greece
NEW YORK — Stocks recorded their third big gain of the week and closed at a one-month high Friday because of expectations that the central banks around the world will step in to limit the damage from a debt crisis in Europe.
Now investors wait for a crucial election on Sunday in Greece that will help determine whether that country stops using the euro. Such an exit would destabilize financial markets.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 115.26 to close at 12,767.17, its highest finish since May 11. The S&P 500 rose 13.74 to 1,342.84, also its highest since May 11. The Nasdaq index rose 36.47 to 2,872.80.
SCE&G denies claims in environmental lawsuit
COLUMBIA — South Carolina Electric & Gas is denying claims it illegally discharged arsenic and other contaminants into the Wateree River near Columbia. And the utility wants a federal judge to dismiss a suit filed in January by the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation.
That lawsuit charges that SCE&G stores wet coal ash in earthen lagoons near its Eastover plant and that monitoring wells near the lagoons show five times the legal limit of arsenic. The suit adds that sometimes the material leaks into the river.
In a response Thursday, SCE&G denies it is illegally discharging pollutants. The company also says the plaintiff and its members have not been harmed and lack standing to bring a lawsuit.
Retailer Ascena plans to shutter Fashion Bug
SUFFERN, N.Y. — Fashion Bug, a low-priced women’s clothing chain, will soon join the retail graveyard.
Ascena Retail Group has completed its buyout of Charming Shoppes, which owns the chain, and now will close the remaining several hundred Fashion Bug stores by early next year.
The $890 million deal gave Ascena access to the large-size women’s clothing market with Lane Bryant and Catherines Plus Sizes stores. Ascena already owns Dressbarn and Maurices for women and the Justice chain, which caters to girls ages 7 to 14.
Lane Bryant has locations at Northwoods Mall and Tanger Outlet Center in North Charleston and at Mount Pleasant Towne Centre. Catherines has stores on Orleans Road in West Ashley and on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. Fashion Bug no longer has a presence in the region.
U.S. factory production falls on carmakers’ cuts
WASHINGTON — U.S. factories produced less in May than April, as automakers cut back on output for the first time in six months. Manufacturing output fell 0.4 percent last month, the Federal Reserve said. Overall industrial production, which includes mines and utilities, slipped 0.1 percent.
Other recent data has also shown that manufacturers are cutting back. Consumers have spent less at retailers and companies are buying less industrial machinery and computers.
Facebook is seeking to combine IPO lawsuits
NEW YORK — Facebook is seeking to consolidate the more than 40 lawsuits it faces following its rocky initial public offering of stock last month.
In a filing with a judicial panel on Friday, Facebook and the banks overseeing its IPO also outlined their case against the lawsuits, which they hope to consolidate in New York. They seek to put part of the blame on the Nasdaq.
Many of the lawsuits center on Facebook’s May 9 disclosure that the number of mobile users it has is growing faster than revenue.
Staff and wire reports